Nobody In The GOP Is Inciting Violence Against Ilhan Omar
David Marcus, The Federalist
Words have actual, distinct meanings. Somehow accepting this wisdom that is thousands of years old is something of a struggle in this, the 21st century. I’m not talking about the current confusion over what the words man and woman mean, or if “Western Civilization” describes an actual human phenomenon. Rather, I’m talking about the word “incitement,” and a dishonest campaign by Democrats to argue Republicans are guilty of it.
One thing common to the dictionary definitions of the word “incite” is intent. To incite is to encourage, it is to actively advocate for; it is not a speech or action that inadvertently or negligently causes violence. When Democrats claim, as many have this week, that Republicans are inciting violence towards Rep. Ilhan Omar in their reaction to her statements about 9/11, they are making a specific charge. That charge is “The GOP wants to encourage violence against Omar.”
I’ll be honest: I’m a bit nonplussed by Omar saying “Some people did something” in regard to 9/11. It’s not how I would put it, but I suspect I view the root causes of the attack differently than Omar does. Obviously Omar abhors the attack, but she likely sees its roots as having to do with colonialism in the Middle East. This, along with recently revealed comments in which she suggested a moral relevancy between al-Qaeda and the U.S. Army, suggest a certain type of worldview. And it’s not all that rare.
On college campuses all across America, there are professors who think the United States has been a harmful force — Central America, Vietnam, climate change, using a nuclear bomb, etc. They have their case. I think it’s foolish, but it’s not strange that Omar and other young Democrats in Congress don’t. It’s fairly standard leftist fare. It is also absolutely fair game for political attack.
The real danger in regard to Democrats accusing Republicans like Rep. Dan Crenshaw and Donald Trump, and outlets like the New York Post, of incitement to violence is that the charge is one of very few that can be used to erase First Amendment free speech protections. It’s no accident that this is the word being used. But it is an absurd accusation.